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Call center to bring 400 jobs to Tucson

Mail-order pharmacy to open center near Rita Ranch

  • 'I am pleased that Optum and UnitedHealth Group recognize Tucson's high-quality workforce and Arizona's excellent business climate,' Gov. Jan Brewer said during the announcement Thursday that OptumRx will open a call center near Rita Ranch.
    Will Seberger/TucsonSentinel.com'I am pleased that Optum and UnitedHealth Group recognize Tucson's high-quality workforce and Arizona's excellent business climate,' Gov. Jan Brewer said during the announcement Thursday that OptumRx will open a call center near Rita Ranch.
  • OptumRx CEO Dirk McMahon speaks Thursday about the company's plan to open a customer service call center near Rita Ranch.
    Will Seberger/TucsonSentinel.comOptumRx CEO Dirk McMahon speaks Thursday about the company's plan to open a customer service call center near Rita Ranch.
  • Tucson Mayor Jonathan Rothschild speaks during the announcement that OptumRx will bring 400 jobs to the area.
    Will Seberger/TucsonSentinel.comTucson Mayor Jonathan Rothschild speaks during the announcement that OptumRx will bring 400 jobs to the area.

OptumRx, a mail-order pharmacy and UnitedHealth Group subsidiary, announced on Thursday that it would open a call center near Rita Ranch.

Company CEO Dirk McMahon said the move would bring 400 jobs, mostly customer service call-center jobs, to the area within 18 months of the site opening, which is expected to be the middle of this year.

Gov. Jan Brewer, Tucson Mayor Jonathan Rothschild and around 75 guests attended the announcement at the University of Arizona TechPark near the intersection of South Rita Road and Interstate 10 — the future site of the call center.

"I am pleased that Optum and UnitedHealth Group recognize Tucson's high-quality workforce and Arizona's excellent business climate," Brewer said.

David Himmel, an OptumRx spokesman, said that the state offered a $200,000 incentive to open the facility, but that the money wasn't the deciding factor. OptumRx's parent company has a market capitalization of some $56 billion according to Yahoo! Finance.

"We love the climate," Himmel said. "Our people want to be where the weather's good and the facility is free from snow storms, floods, hurricanes and tornadoes."

In exchange for the incentive, the company must keep 400 full-time jobs in the area for a minimum of five years at an average salary of $37,000, or about $17/hr.

"Most of the jobs will be customer-service jobs," Himmel said.

The customer service jobs will start in the $27,000-per-year range, which McMahon said is "in line" with what similar companies pay.

Himmel said employees can expect raises with experience and time on the job.

The $200,000 incentive will remain in escrow until the company has met all the requirements, Himmel said.

McMahon said that most jobs are open to high school graduates, but that he expected some college graduates to apply. Workers will receive training to help consumers understand prescription plans and pricing.

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